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美国20世纪最伟大的100篇演讲Dwight D. Eisenhower - Atoms for Peace

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AmericanRhetoric.com


Dwight D. Eisenhower:
“Atoms for Peace”

 

Delivered
8 December
1953,
United
Nations
General Assembly


AUTHENTICITY CERTIFIED:
Text
version below
transcribed
directly
from
audio

Madam President and Members of the General Assembly:

When Secretary General
Hammarskjold’s invitation to address this General
Assembly reached
me in Bermuda, I was just beginning a series of conferences with
the Prime Ministers and
Foreign Ministers of Great Britain and of France. Our subject was some of the problems that
beset our world.


During the remainder of the Bermuda Conference, I
had
constantly in mind that ahead of me
lay a great
honor. That
honor is mine today, as I stand here, privileged
to address the General
Assembly of the United Nations.

At
the same time that I appreciate the distinction of addressing you, I have a sense of
exhilaration as I look upon this Assembly. Never before in
history has so
much hope for so
many people been gathered together in a single
organization. Your deliberations and decisions
during these somber years have already realized part of those hopes.

But
the great
tests and the great accomplishments still lie ahead. And in the confident
expectation of those accomplishments, I would use the office which, for the time being, I
hold,
to assure you that the Government of the United States will remain
steadfast
in
its support of
this body.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Property
of AmericanRhetoric.com. . Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
Page
1



AmericanRhetoric.com


This we shall do
in the conviction
that
you will provide a great share of the wisdom, of the
courage, and the faith which can bring to this world lasting peace for all
nations, and
happiness and wellbeing
for all
men.

Clearly, it would not be fitting for me to take this occasion to present to
you a unilateral
American report on Bermuda. Nevertheless, I assure you that in our deliberations on
that
lovely island we sought
to invoke those same great concepts of universal peace and human
dignity which are so cleanly etched in your Charter. Neither would it
be a measure of this
great opportunity merely to recite,
however hopefully, pious platitudes.

I therefore decided
that
this occasion warranted my saying to
you
some of the things that
have been on the minds and hearts of my legislative and executive associates, and on mine,
for a great
many months thoughts
I had originally planned to say primarily to the American
people.


I know that
the American people share my deep belief that if a danger exists in
the world,
it is
a danger shared by all. and equally, that if hope exists in the mind of one nation, that
hope
should be shared by all.

Finally, if there is to be advanced any proposal designed to ease even by the smallest
measure the tensions of today’s world, what
more appropriate audience could there be than
the members of the General
Assembly of the United Nations. I
feel
impelled to speak today in
a language that in a sense is new, one which
I, who have spent
so much of my life in the
military profession, would have preferred never
to use. That new language is the language of
atomic warfare.

The atomic age has moved forward at such a pace that every citizen of the world should have
some comprehension, at least in comparative terms, of the extent of this development, of the
utmost significance to everyone of us. Clearly, if the peoples of the world are to conduct an
intelligent
search
for peace, they must be armed with
the significant facts of today’s
existence.

My recital of atomic danger and power is necessarily stated in United States terms, for these
are the only incontrovertible facts that I
know. I need hardly point out
to this Assembly,
however, that this subject
is global, not merely national
in character.

On July 16, 1945, the United States set off the
world’s first atomic explosion.

Since that date in 1945, the United States of America has conducted fortytwo
test explosions.
Atomic bombs today are more than
twentyfive
times as powerful as the weapons with which
the atomic age dawned, while hydrogen weapons are in
the ranges of millions of tons of TNT
equivalent.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Property
of AmericanRhetoric.com. . Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
Page
2



AmericanRhetoric.com


Today, the United States stockpile of atomic weapons, which, of course, increases daily,
exceeds by many times the total [explosive] equivalent of the total of all bombs and all shells
that came from every plane and every gun
in every theatre of war in all the years of World
War II.

A single air group, whether afloat or land based, can now deliver to any reachable target a
destructive cargo exceeding in power all
the bombs that
fell on Britain
in all of
World War II.
In
size and variety, the development of atomic weapons has been no
less remarkable. The
development
has been such
that atomic weapons have virtually achieved conventional status
within our armed services.

In
the United States, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps are all capable
of putting this weapon
to military use. But the dread secret and the fearful
engines of atomic
might are not ours alone.


In
the first place, the secret is possessed by our friends and allies, Great
Britain and Canada,
whose scientific genius made a tremendous contribution
to our original discoveries and the
designs of atomic bombs.

The secret is also known by the Soviet
Union.

The Soviet Union
has informed us that, over recent years, it
has devoted extensive resources
to atomic weapons. During this period the Soviet Union
has exploded a series of atomic
advices devices,
including at
least one involving thermonuclear
reactions. If at one time
the Unites States possessed what might
have been called a monopoly of atomic power, that
monopoly ceased to exist several years ago.

Therefore, although our earlier start has permitted us to accumulate what
is today a great
quantitative advantage,
the atomic realities of today comprehend two facts of even greater
significance.

First, the knowledge now possessed by several
nations will eventually be shared by others,
possibly all others.

Second, even a vast superiority in
numbers of weapons, and a consequent capability of
devastating retaliation, is no preventive, of itself, against the fearful
material damage and toll
of human
lives that would be inflicted by surprise aggression. The free world, at
least dimly
aware of these facts, has naturally embarked on a large program of warning and defense
systems. That program will be accelerated and expanded.
But
let
no one think that
the
expenditure of vast sums for weapons and systems of defense can guarantee absolute safety
for the cities and citizens of any nation. The awful arithmetic of the atomic bomb does not
permit of any such
easy solution. Even against
the most powerful defense, an aggressor in
possession of the effective minimum number of atomic bombs for a surprise attack could
probably place a sufficient
number of his bombs
on the chosen targets to
cause hideous
damage.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Property
of AmericanRhetoric.com. . Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
Page
3



AmericanRhetoric.com


Should such an atomic attack be launched against
the United States, our reactions would be
swift and resolute. But for me to say that
the defense capabilities of the United States are
such
that
they could inflict
terrible losses upon an aggressor,
for me to say that the retaliation
capabilities of the Unites States are so great
that such an aggressor’s land would be laid
waste, all this, while fact, is not
the true expression of the purpose and the hope of the United
States.

To pause there would be to confirm the hopeless finality of a belief that two atomic colossi are
doomed malevolently to eye each other indefinitely across a trembling world.
To stop there
would be to accept
hope helplessly
the probability of civilization destroyed,
the annihilation
of the irreplaceable heritage of mankind handed down
to use generation
from generation, and
the condemnation of mankind to begin all over again the ageold
struggle upward
from
savagery toward decency, and right, and justice. Surely no sane member of the human race
could discover victory in such desolation.

Could anyone wish his name to be coupled by history with such human degradation and
destruction? Occasional pages of history do
record the faces of the “great destroyers,” but
the
whole book of history reveals mankind’s neverending
quest
for peace and mankind’s Godgiven
capacity to build.


It
is with the book of history, and not with
isolated pages,
that the United States will ever
wish to be identified. My country wants to be constructive, not destructive. It wants
agreements, not wars, among nations. It wants itself to live in freedom and in the confidence
that
the people of every other nation enjoy equally the right of choosing their own way of life.


So my country’s purpose is to
help us move out
of the dark chamber of horrors into
the light,
to find a way by which the minds of men, the hopes of men, the souls of men
everywhere,
can move forward
toward peace and happiness and wellbeing.


In
this quest, I know that we must not lack patience. I
know
that
in a world divided, such as
ours today, salvation cannot be attained by one dramatic act.
I know that many steps will
have to be taken over many months before the world can
look at itself one day and truly
realize that a new climate of mutually peaceful confidence is abroad in the world.
But I
know,
above all else, that we must
start
to
take these
steps now.

The United States and its allies, Great
Britain and France, have, over the past
months, tried to
take some of these steps. Let no one say that we shun
the conference table.
On the record
has long stood the request of the United States, Great
Britain, and France to
negotiate with
the Soviet
Union
the problems of a divided Germany. On that record has long stood the
request of the same three nations to negotiate an
Austrian peace treaty. On
the same record
still stands the request of the United Nations to
negotiate the problems of Korea.


Most recently we have received from the Soviet
Union what is in effect an expression
of
willingness to
hold a fourPower
meeting.
Along with our allies, Great
Britain and France, we
were pleased
to see that
his note did not contain
the unacceptable preconditions
previously


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Property
of AmericanRhetoric.com. . Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
Page
4



AmericanRhetoric.com


put forward.
As
you already know from our joint Bermuda communiqué, the United States,
Great Britain, and France have agreed promptly
to meet with
the Soviet Union.

The Government of the United States approaches this conference with
hopeful sincerity. We
will bend every effort of our minds to
the single purpose of emerging from that conference
with
tangible results towards peace, the only true way of lessening international tension. We
never have, we never will, propose or suggest that the Soviet Union surrender what is
rightfully theirs. We will
never say that the people of Russia are an
enemy with whom we have
no desire ever to
deal or mingle in friendly and fruitful relationship.


On
the contrary, we hope that this coming conference may initiate a relationship with the
Soviet
Union which will eventually bring about a free intermingling of the peoples of the East
and of the West
the
one sure, human way of
developing the understanding required for
confident and peaceful relations.

Instead of the discontent which
is now settling upon Eastern Germany, occupied Austria, and
the countries of Eastern Europe, we seek a harmonious family of free European
nations, with
none a threat
to
the other, and least of all a threat to the peoples of the Russia.
Beyond the
turmoil and strife and misery of Asia, we seek peaceful opportunity for these peoples to
develop their natural resources and to elevate their lives.

These are not
idle words or shallow visions. Behind them lies a story of nations lately come to
independence, not as a result of war, but
through free grant or peaceful
negotiation. There is
a record already written of assistance gladly given by nations of the West
to needy peoples
and to those suffering the temporary effects of famine, drought, and natural disaster. These
are deeds of peace. They speak more loudly than promises or protestations of peaceful
intent.

But I do
not wish
to rest either upon
the reiteration of past proposals or the restatement of
past deeds.
The gravity of the time is such
that
every new avenue of peace,
no
matter how
dimly discernible, should be explored.
There is at
least one new avenue of peace which
has
not
yet been well explored an
avenue now laid out by the General
Assembly of the Unites
Nations.

In
its resolution of November 18th, 1953
this
General Assembly suggested and
I quote “
that
the Disarmament Commission
study the desirability of establishing a subcommittee
consisting of representatives of the Powers principally involved, which
should seek in private
an acceptable solution and report such a solution
to the General
Assembly and to
the Security
Council not
later than
September 1, of 1954.”


The United States, heeding the suggestion of the General
Assembly of the United Nations, is
instantly prepared to
meet privately with such other countries as may be “principally
involved,” to seek “an acceptable solution” to
the atomic armaments race which overshadows
not only the peace, but
the very life of the world. We shall carry into
these private or
diplomatic talks a new conception.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Property
of AmericanRhetoric.com. . Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
Page
5



AmericanRhetoric.com


The United States would seek more than the mere reduction or elimination of atomic materials
for military purposes. It
is not enough
to take this weapon out of the hands of the soldiers. It
must be put into
the hands of those who will know how to
strip its military casing and adapt
it
to the arts of peace.

The United States knows that
if the fearful
trend of atomic military buildup
can be reversed,
this greatest of destructive forces can be developed into a great boon, for the benefit of all
mankind. The United States knows that peaceful power from atomic energy is no dream of the
future. That capability, already proved,
is here, now, today. Who can doubt, if the entire body
of the world’s scientists and engineers had adequate amounts of fissionable material with
which
to
test and develop their ideas, that this capability would rapidly be transformed into
universal, efficient, and economic usage?

To hasten
the day when
fear of the atom will begin to disappear from the minds of people and
the governments of the East and West, there are certain
steps that
can be taken
now. I
therefore make the following proposals:

The governments principally involved,
to the extent permitted by elementary prudence, to
begin now and continue to make joint contributions from their stockpiles of normal
uranium
and fissionable materials to
an
international atomic energy agency. We would expect that
such an agency would be set
up under the aegis of the United Nations.

The ratios of contributions, the procedures, and other details would properly be within
the
scope of the “private conversations” I have referred to
earlier.

The United States is prepared to
undertake these explorations in good faith. Any partner of
the United States acting in the same good faith
will find the United States a not unreasonable
or ungenerous associate.


Undoubtedly, initial and early contributions to this plan would be small in quantity. However,
the proposal has the great virtue that
it can be undertaken without the irritations and mutual
suspicions incident to any attempt
to set
up a completely acceptable system of worldwide
inspection and control.

The atomic energy agency could be made responsible for the impounding, storage, and
protection of the contributed fissionable and other materials. The ingenuity of our scientists
will provide special, safe conditions under which
such a bank of fissionable material can be
made essentially immune to surprise seizure.


The more important responsibility of this atomic energy agency would be to devise methods
whereby this fissionable material would be allocated to serve the peaceful pursuits of
mankind.
Experts would be mobilized to apply atomic energy to the needs of agriculture,
medicine, and other peaceful activities. A special purpose would be to provide abundant
electrical energy in the powerstarved
areas of the world. Thus the contributing Powers would
be dedicating some of their strength
to serve the needs rather than the fears of mankind.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Property
of AmericanRhetoric.com. . Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
Page
6



AmericanRhetoric.com


The United States would be more than willing it
would be proud to
take up with others
“principally involved” the development of plans whereby such peaceful use of atomic energy
would be expedited.


Of those “principally involved”
the Soviet
Union
must, of course, be one. I would be prepared
to submit to
the Congress of the United States, and with every expectation of approval, any
such plan that would, first, encourage worldwide
investigation into
the most effective
peacetime uses of fissionable material, and with the certainty that
they [the investigators] had
all
the material
needed for the conduct of all experiments that were appropriate. second,
begin to
diminish the potential destructive power of the world’s atomic stockpiles. third, allow
all
peoples of all nations to see that, in this enlightened age,
the great Powers of the earth,
both of the East and of the West, are interested in human aspirations first rather than
in
building up the armaments of war. fourth, open
up a new
channel for peaceful discussion and
initiate at
least a new approach to
the many difficult problems that must be solved in
both
private and public conversations, if the world is
to shake off
the inertia imposed by fear and is
to make positive progress toward peace.


Against
the dark background of the atomic bomb, the United States does not wish merely to
present strength, but also
the desire and the hope for peace.

The coming months will be fraught with fateful decisions. In
this Assembly, in the capitals and
military headquarters of the world, in the hearts of men
everywhere, be they governed or
governors, may they be the decisions which will
lead
this world out of fear and into peace.

To the making of these fateful decisions, the United States pledges before you, and therefore
before the world,
its determination
to help solve the fearful atomic dilemma to
devote its
entire heart and mind to
find the way by which the miraculous inventiveness of man shall
not
be dedicated to his death, but consecrated to
his life.

I again
thank the delegates for the great honor they have done me in inviting me to appear
before them and in listening me to
me so courteously.

Thank you.


Transcription by
Michael
E. Eidenmuller. Property
of AmericanRhetoric.com. . Copyright 2006. All rights reserved.
Page
7


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